Gentry wanted to avoid 'interim' tag after replacing Walton
Sacramento Kings interim head coach Alvin Gentry Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Alvin Gentry wanted to avoid the “interim” tag after taking over head-coaching duties when the Kings fired Luke Walton on Sunday, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic.

Sources tell Amick that Gentry was unsuccessful because the front office believed it had another viable candidate in first-year assistant coach Doug Christie. Even though general manager Monte McNair, assistant GM Wes Wilcox and chief strategy officer Joe Dumars all supported Gentry, having Christie as an option gave the organization leverage in its negotiations with Gentry.

Gentry received a raise as part of his new duties, Amick adds, and he has a contract that runs through the end of next season. However, his future as the head coach in Sacramento will depend on how successful he is at turning the team around. Amick notes this is the fourth time in his career that Gentry has received this type of promotion, and he was able to earn long-term coaching stints with both the Pistons and Suns.

As the lead assistant, Gentry already had a huge influence on Sacramento’s offensive strategy, so other than possibly increasing its pace, the team won’t look much different with him in charge.

“This is not about making mass changes or changing philosophies or anything like this,” Gentry said. “I think we’ve got a good system in place. So I think what we have to do is we have to have our players perform better. I’ve got to be better. All the other coaches have to be better, and our players have to be better. I think it’s a group thing.”

There’s more from Sacramento:

  • The Kings’ next major decision should be determining whether they can build a contender around De’Aaron Fox, Amick adds. Fox has gotten off to a terrible start in the first season of his five-year, $163M extension, shooting just 42.1% from the field and 24.% from three-point range. Three-guard lineups with Tyrese Haliburton and Davion Mitchell haven’t been effective, observes Amick, who wonders if a roster upheaval may happen before the Feb. 10 trade deadline.
  • Gentry is the sixth coach in eight years for owner Vivek Ranadive, writes Chris Biderman of The Sacramento Bee. Ranadive has a history of being impatient, Biderman adds, and his desire for change caused the organization to part with Michael Malone, who has become a perennial playoff coach in Denver.
  • Tristan Thompson, who was acquired over the summer to provide veteran leadership, said after Monday’s loss to the short-handed 76ers that it will take an organization-wide effort to recover from the poor start (video link). “I think everyone has to look in the mirror,” said Thompson, who also publicly expressed frustration with the team’s situation last week. “It’s not only just players. Yes, it’s a player’s league … but in terms of building a team, it takes a collective group. It takes everyone from the top to the bottom. From ownership to the trainers, to the equipment managers, to the players, to (the physical therapist), to the GM to the assistant GM. It’s all of us.”

This article first appeared on Hoops Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

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